13 April 2018

Report from Leipzig Manga-Comic-Con 2018

Some weeks ago, I visited one of Germany's biggest comics event, Leipzig Manga-Comic-Con, which has since a couple of years ago been a part of the huuuge Leipzig Book Fair in the middle/end of March. The German manga scene has grown steadily for the past two decades and dominates the comics part of the fair. Here's my report from the event and as always I include some cool artists I met there and tips for you who might think of going there to sell your own comics and art!

This is the map for the enormous Leipziger Messe. 
The comics and manga part was in one of the five halls. The rest is the book fair...!

Inbetween the halls was a glass hallway which was so big I bet you could fit a commercial airline in there, or two. This was where a lot of the food courts where and naturally the cosplayers too because of the sunlight, good for photos!

Here's a part of the MCC hall. So many people!

Now I want to show you the German manga publishers. Lets start with the three biggest: Carlsen Manga, Egmont Manga and Tokyopop

These three manga publishers is behind the majority of the manga that is published in Germany. All of them also have their own German manga artists, whom are seen as an asset to their publishers as they have their own big fanbases and the publishers own the International rights and can sell licenses for their mangas. This was clearly show as both Egmont Manga showed of Niloo's debut manga Mein erste Mal and Tokyopop showed off Anna Backhausen and Sophie Shönhammer's manga Sternen sammler

Two publishers with roots in other countries that has established themselves on the German manga market: Panini Comics from Italy and Kazé Manga from France. 

Both of these only publish imported Japanese manga and don't publish German artists, yet. Panini Comics also publishes other comics besides manga.

Among the newer publishers are Pyramond, focusing on Non-Japanese manga and comics by Non-Japanese artists but with a Japanese aesthetical inspiration, and it is going very well! Another proof that that the German manga market have matured enough so that the prejudice about who can and can not make manga is irrelevant.
Pyramond is also my publisher of my mangas Sword Princess Amaltea and Mjau!.  

Altraverse is a new publisher with the former Tokyopop chief editor Joachim Kaps at the wheel, focusing on importing Japanese manga. 

There are also several smaller publishers, mostly aimed at self-publishing or certain themes (a lot of BL at some of them). Here's some:

Delfinium Prints, publisher of David Füleki's seinen mangas.

Schwarzer Turm, selling mostly German made comics, not just manga.

Several manga and comic artists had their own booths at the fair, so let me introduce you to some of them:

Désirée Kunstmann and Nana Yaa, two amazing manga artists mostly self-publishing but also published with publishers. Désirée at Delfinium Prints and Nana at Tokyopop. Nana is also part of the American Tokyopop initiative "International Women of Manga" that I'm also a part of.

CKJohnson and Sabrina Ehnert, two super talented illustrators. Sabrina's  children's book Friedwalds grose Reise was of course in my bag on the way home. Signed. 

The twins Gin Zarbo and Ban Zarbo, super cool and skilled manga artists and also part of Tokyopop's "International Women of Manga" with Nana and I.

German-Japanese Mikiko Ponczeck, now living in London (I met her at last years London Comic Con too). She makes a living drawing manga full time, partly thanks to her webcomics on Tapas

One part of the fair is called MCC Kreativ, and this is their Artist Alley. A bit cheaper than a booth.

One of the super cool artists I met in the MCC Kreativ is PearsFears, who also make webcomics. Mostly BL, which is super popular in Germany, so she was not alone. 

In the middle of the comics and manga part of Leipzig MCC, this stage was the drinking spot for everyone thirsty for the news withing the German manga scene. Publishers had booked time slots on stage and presented their newest books.

My publisher Christian Allmann presenting the upcoming titles at Pyramond, among others my own kitten manga Mjau!.

Going back to Germany is for me like meeting relatives that lives far away. This is my second big event in the country since DoKomi in 2015 and I have made so many friends online since then that I was elated to meet in person. Some of them have become really close friends like Marika Herzog, whom joined me for the Italian event FumettoPolis last year.

Marika (cosplaying from YOI) and I. 

Some artists I have mostly admired on a distance, like Reyhan Yildirim, one of my "artist-crushes". This time I was brave enough to talk to her and got one of her mangas signed. Yaaay!!
To be able to meet all these amazing and kind artists that I have followed for so many years, and to hang out with them in the evenings too, it was a dream come true! ❤

Last but not least, this event was the pre-release of Sword Princess Amaltea vol. 1 in Germany, and thus marks another step in my career. I signed so many books (thank you everyone for buying it!!) and feel so honored to be part of this flourishing and high-quality manga scene.

Besides the snow storms covering the city in an almost Arctic aura, this trip was a well needed boost for me as a Swedish manga artist and fan. In Sweden, last year was the first year since the end of the 90'ies where no Japanese manga was published in Sweden. No publishers dare to put in the effort anymore. I could write a whole blog entry about it, but in short; the editors at the big comic publishers in Sweden are either not interested or not knowledged enough to do the job. Plus the kids here are too good at reading English (and the American manga distributors reach us well). So for me, seeing how the German publishers put money and time into manga, and get rewarded likewise, makes me both happy and envious. They prove that manga was not just a fad. Maybe this is where the Swedish manga publishers would have been if they wouldn't have given up that easily.

Oh, well.


Last but not least, here's my tips for you who want to go sell at Leipzig MCC (based on my experiences of the fair):

  • Cash Is King in Germany, so bring lots of change, in Euro of course. Most people seem to want to pay in cash, but the most common alternative seem to be PayPal so make sure you have that too.
  • Book the tables waaaay in advance. The MCC Kreative seemed to have some issues with tables going fast or something, which was partly why so many artists had their own booths.
  • Book hotels and traveling tickets early too. I went by train, which was not as awefull as some seem to think. Took 10 hours from Sweden but I only payed 200 euro for the tickets (both ways included).
  • Fanart was apparently an issue, I heard, they discuss how much should be allowed. Check the rules before you apply, if you are a fanartist.
  • Manga, webstyles and fiction or funny cartoons seemed to be the dominating part of the artists selling, so that might be something to keep in mind.

✱ Thank you so much for reading! ✱